Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Gave Him A Great Name

This was the moment when I saw my horse for the first time. It belonged to the wealthy trader in the picture, whose passion was to breed horses in Nara, Mali. He brought it to me knowing of my love for horses. It was born and bred in Nara. The horses of the Sahel have a great deal Arab blood in their veins but they are a desert breed of their own that has developed over centuries in the Sahel region. They are short, thin, strong willed and very endurant. But they are not nervous like race horses. Of course I bought it.
I called the stallion " Mandela" because he was so proud and strong. At the time I did not know that I would live in South-Africa later. The name came to me in the flash of a second. And Mandela became known in the whole village of Nara and in the "cercle". A cercle in West-Africa corresponds to a municipality in South-Africa.
And he has given me lots of trouble too. On more than one occasion I had to make my way back by foot through the bush while he was already home in the yard feeding grass, as if nothing has happened, or running through the roads of the village with an empty saddle on his back - embarrasing me by doing so! But he was too beautiful not to forgive him.

There is great contrast between my life then and now. The country of South-Africa at the tip of this beautiful African continent is a different planet compared to the West-African region. Both areas are beautiful. When going through the material, the work reports, the letters written home and the many photos recently, I have decided to tell the tales of this period on a blog of their own. It is worth it.

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